Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen Review

First off, I hope that all my regular visitors like the changes I've made to the blog. Now that I'm getting a lot more support, I need to help make my blog more appealing. Please feel free to spread the word about "For the Love of Lit" to anyone who you think would be willing to listen! I broke my neck all day trying to figure out how to add tabs to the top of the page and finally figured it out. I've now categorized all my posts under those tabs to make them more accessible to you. Now, after taking a break and looking with a sense of self-satisfaction on the results of my labor, I’m ready to get back to what I do best; and that is reading and writing.

Today’s review is (in case you didn’t look at the hot-pink post title above) on a personal favorite of mine, Persuasion by none other than Jane Austen. I’m sure that it seems like a new facet of me, the girl who spends most of her time dwelling on the gothic romances of the Brontes. It’s actually quite the contrary. If it hadn’t been for Jane Austen, I never would have tapped into the passionate world of the Brontes. In theory, it was actually Jane Austen who laid the foundation for my passion for literature. Persuasion was the first (unabridged) classic I ever read, and thus plunged me into the rich world of literature. It is for that reason that I owe the book (and its Author) my undying gratitude, which I now seek to express by reviewing it. J

For all of you who are unacquainted with the book, Persuasion follows a heroine by the name of Anne Elliot, the daughter of the rich but rather prodigal baronet, Sir Walter Elliot. As the middle child of the family, Anne is often disregarded by her father in favor of her elder sister (who resembles him) or her younger sister, Mary, who has made a favorable marriage. Anne is lonesome and now seems destined for spinsterhood at the age of twenty-seven.

The reader now becomes more acquainted with Anne’s past. At the tender age of nineteen, she fell in love with the handsome naval officer, Frederick Wentworth.  Despite her passion for him, Anne rejects him after her mother’s old friend Lady Russell persuades her that his lack of wealth will hinder their relationship. Wentworth leaves with the navy, embittered by Anne’s weakness of mind and enraged by Lady Russell’s part in his rejection.

Years later Wentworth and Anne are thrown together again, both in completely different circumstances than they were before. Anne’s father is now short of money and forced to rent his house to Wentworth’s sister and brother-in-law (the Crofts) while Wentworth has been made rich by his success in the war. His newfound wealth makes him a desirable match in society, and Wentworth is now continually sought after by many pretty young women. Anne is now forced to watch as the man she rejected, but still passionately loves is constantly flattered by admirers in front of her.

Persuasion’s plot buds as Anne and Wentworth’s mutual affection is in danger of being once again severed (this time forever) by Lady Russell’s persuasion and Wentworth’s seemingly fond attachment to an eager admirer. Almost eight years after their engagement has ended, the two main characters must now re-endure the same struggles of their childhood. Faced with the same decisions, Anne must determine to assert her strong passion for Wentworth and gain confidence in herself.

This novel was captivating. I hold it superior to all of Jane Austen’s prior works (even the much acclaimed P&P) in every aspect. Austen wasn’t the gloomy and brilliantly passionate writer that the Bronte’s were, but her use of irony was the best in the English language. She doesn’t fail to serve up another delicious helping of it in Persuasion. This book delves into the complexities of love and constancy. In a post I did a while ago, I explained that I didn’t enjoy Jane Austen’s novels as much because they often presented a lack of conflict for me. Persuasion, however, proves otherwise. Here, two characters are separated not only by the “usual” conflicts of society, but by time itself. Time is a pretty rigid antagonist.

Comments are always welcome. For all of those who haven’t read the novel (which I doubt isn’t that many), put it at the top of your reading list. It’s hard not to enjoy this book. The irony is (as always) entertaining, and literary devices are always in abundance whenever you’re reading Jane Austen. This is not just a simple romance, but a beautifully written work of art. This is Jane Austen at her best. It’s a shame that it had to be her last.

P.S. As always, I normally follow up a book review with a review of it's adaptions. Just for your viewing pleasure, here is Sally Hawkins (aka Mrs. Reed 2011) playing Anne and Rupert Penry-Jones (SWWOOOONNN) as Wentworth.


  1. Oh I ADORE Rupert Penry-Jones as Wentworth. He's just so in love with Anne it kills me every time I watch that adaptation.

  2. I agree. The connection between the two almost mirrored what I imagined in the novel.

  3. I prefer the 1995 version with Cirian Hinds and Amanda Root. Have you seen that version of it? If not, I recommend it highly :)

  4. Yes. I think there are only three versions and I saw all of them. I suppose I'm a bit partial to the 2007 because it was the one I saw first and I fell in love with it. I also hate to say it, but I never saw Ciaran Hinds as the "handsome" type and Captain Wentworth is directly characterized as handsome.

  5. LOL, I know what you mean. He isn't the greatest looking fella but I felt that the movie was better done than the 2007 version

  6. Ahh, he's definitely swoon-worthy. Wentworth's my favorite Austen hero. And - and - and: EIGHT YEARS!! Need I say mooore? Constancy makes me sigh in utter content. Especially in this society when people change their minds at a drop of hat, even when the decision requires more thought and consideration, drives. me. insane. Ah, Frederick Wentworth how I adore you. Also, The Letter u_u I am on a slight high because Perusasion's my favorite (you may or may not have been able to tell) and exams are over.
    Also, I love that chair. Yes! I do believe I will sit and stay awhile.

  7. Yes, it was more faithful to the book than the 2007 was. I could watch either one, both are enjoyable to me. I just prefer to see Rupert Penry-Jones as Wentworth. And I'm not saying that just because he's extremely good looking (even though that might have alot to do with it) but because I think he nails the character better and Sally Hawkins plays Anne well.

  8. @Lady Disdain: Yes, constancy is a beautiful thing that you don't see that much of lately. It's for that reason that Wentworth is one of my favorite male literary heroes. I'm glad you're so excited! :)

  9. Thank you very very much! :) I'm trying to find a permanent look for the blog, so your input means a lot.